Save Abdullah From the Ultimate Human Rights Violation

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Abdullah al-Qahtani

Abdullah al-Qahtani

By Samir Goswami, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Individuals & Communities at Risk Campaign

Last week, we issued an Urgent Action to the disturbing news that Saudi Arabian national Abdullah al-Qahtani was at imminent risk of execution.

Abdullah was convicted of robbery and murder under Iraq’s Anti-Terrorism Law. While in custody, he was viciously beaten, burned and asphyxiated into “confessing” to being a member of al-Qaida. Four of Abdullah’s six co-defendants were executed last week and for a time, it seemed as though Abdullah was next.

But then, an amazing thing happened. We emailed a petition out to our Amnesty members and within 24 hours, received over 30,000 signatures.

Abdullah is still alive and pressure from activists like you likely helped spare his life. Today, Abdullah’s petition has over 40,000 signatures. But make no mistake – his execution is imminent. Abdullah’s attorney urges continued vigilance:

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Inaction by Authorities Leads to Violence in Egypt

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Egyptian protesters cheer as they enter the grounds of the St Mark's Cathedral in Abasseyya during clashes with Egyptian riot police on April 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

Egyptian protesters cheer as they enter the grounds of the St Mark’s Cathedral in Abasseyya during clashes with Egyptian riot police on April 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

By Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Egypt researcher

On Sunday I attended the Cairo funeral of four Coptic Christians killed on Friday night in Khousous, a small town north of the city.

I had been planning to travel to Khousous to find out more about the sectarian violence which led to the deaths there. Instead, I found myself caught up in more violence at the funeral itself – with mourners on one side, and unknown assailants and, later, security forces on the other.

Before the clashes erupted, feelings of grief, anger and injustice were palpable inside Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, which was filled with mourners. Tears, prayers and wailing were drowned out by chants against the government and the Muslim Brotherhood, and vows to avenge the dead.

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Egypt: Back in Tahrir Square and Winning Victories

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The Egyptian people have proven themselves to be a patient nation. They showed an active patience over the three decades of Mubarak rule, speaking out when they could but waiting for the right time to rise up in Tahrir Square and across the country to oust him.

Since the success of the Jan. 25 uprising, many in America have wondered whether the uprising died out prematurely after Mubarak’s resignation.  The pace of reform has slowed, the military regime has dragged hundreds of protesters before unfair military trials, and the New Egypt looks suspiciously like the Old Egypt.

This week, they have their answer.  Today, for the sixth straight day, thousands of Egyptians have returned to sit in Tahrir Square to demand their promised rights.  Despite public warnings from the interim military rulers, the protesters are not budging and are preparing Friday to present one of the largest protests in Egypt since Jan. 25.

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